Home Blackberry is Not Microsoft (Sorry Apple)

Blackberry is Not Microsoft (Sorry Apple)

I did it! I resisted the cravings all week. I did NOT buy an iPhone. It took a lot of deep Buddhist meditation to deal with my cravings. The iPhone is just gorgeous – this is user interface design at the highest level of art. Plus, the developer platform makes developers who dream in design patterns go all weak at the knees. The last time a UI and API induced equal cravings was in NeXt. No that is not a snide comment, Jobs learned from NeXt and this one is a big, big winner. But, oh yes there is a but, iPhone is still a piece of utility electronics.

When the sizzle ends, the steak still has to taste good. The iPhone has to be better than what people are currently using based on simple metrics of productivity. If the competition is Mac OSX vs Windows, it is no contest at all. Not only is OSX great eye candy, it also wins on productivity and the competition suffers from really annoying stuff like crashes, brownouts and other time-sinks.

But the competition here is not Microsoft. For the business user, the competition is Blackberry; and Blackberry is not Microsoft. I am a long time Blackberry user and it is seldom annoying. It just gets the job done. So unlike when I switched back from Windows to Mac, which I did with a big sigh of relief, I am in no hurry to switch based on anything wrong with what I have.

And a few reviews are making me think that iPhone could be a high maintenance date. Sure, high maintenance dates can be fun, but I am judging this on boring utility criteria. For example:

1. Keyboard. I am ready to be convinced by touch-screen keyboards. But I am not sure I want to spend the time adjusting. Outside the USA, where SMS is the major use of a mobile phone, I think this is a big deal. Flipping to horizontal is neat, but does this work for email?

2. Battery. Any mobile device that cannot do a full day’s work and play without re-charge is a pain. You don’t want to be in “don’t leave home without it” mode regarding your charger unless you are going for more than a day. On a normal day, it’s plug it in before you go to sleep and pick it up in the morning.

3. It’s a bit big as a phone. OK, so is the Blackberry. But, as they say, size matters when you are holding it to your ear. Some people express almost comical amusement at the idea of using the iPhone as a phone – “you still call people, how quaint”. Then don’t call it a Phone, because it does set that expectation.

I know that resistance is futile. I will get an iPhone eventually. Or Blackberry will give me a better browser, which is really what I love about iPhone.

The killer app for me? Skype to Skype calls over WiFi. I believe that requires an unlocked iPhone. It would dramatically change the economics of mobile phones. Which AT&T certainly knows and will be resisting for as long as possible.

Plus a really slim but full function collapsible keyboard, so I can write full length stuff as easily as on my laptop. And then a simple way to plug into any screen that’s around, so I can edit docs stored in the cloud. So that I can stop lugging around my laptop; that’s a big win for people who spend a lot of time away from their desk.

My guess is that the iPhone ecosystem will bring all these things to market fairly soon. The iPhone is the first real new platform since Windows (sorry, Facebook).

Image: After the iPhone Keynote, Jan 2007; pic by mac steve

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